You ever notice?

Be sure to read the last one, about vampires, kay?

So anyway I noticed a couple of things, and I thought I'd share them:
  1. The Packer power sweep (look it up), in which guys block the other side's defense and then the quarterback goes around on whichever side there's an opening, appears to me to work on the same principle as Napoleon's strategy of detached reserves. If that doesn't tell you football is the best sport ever, you're no son of mine.

  2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, aside from being an example of how monstrously overrated Joss Whedon is, is something else, that I for one found kinda funny.

    It's Magical Girl.

    It wasn't so much, in the movie, but then the movie was directed by someone who realized how utterly laughable the concept "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is—if you name an idea that you mean seriously "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," they should lock you away. But in the series...how long, exactly, did it take her to collect a bevy of Slayer Scouts?

    What's really funny is that Whedon really thought he was thinking for himself...while recreating standard boilerplate mahô shôjô from end to end. Apparently he does that in his comics a lot, too—I hear (I don't read Marvel) that he did an X-Men story wherein he demonstrated that he thinks "computer simulations achieving sentience" is a downright groundbreaking idea. Did the name Moriarti occur to him at any time?

  3. The President of the US (as such, I mean, not any one holder of the office) is the following, explicitly in the Constitution or by tradition:

    • The supreme executive of a state formally known as a Republic, that encompasses many "tribes".

    • The Commander-in-Chief of its military.

    • First among equals of its citizens.

    • Its chief of State.

    • Empowered to veto laws from the Senate.

    That is to say, he's the consul/censor, the imperator, the princeps, arguably the pater patriae, and claims tribunitia potestas. So, pace Pat Buchanan, looks to me like the only difference between the POTUS and Caesar Invictus is that Presidents are term-limited (and don't wear snazzy purple robes).

  4. My little sister actually came up with this, but Hitchcock's The Birds is, essentially, a zombie movie.

  5. Movies like Blade, and even more Vampire Hunter D, and anything where one of Them (whatever They happen to be) fights Them for us, are, interestingly, excellent arguments in favor of strong monarchy. See, monarchy does have a very real advantage of limiting the power of the society's elite; America and France have always been monarchies, that's why our Republics have such strong executives, while England has always been an aristocracy, at best—usually an oligarchy—which is why the PM is basically just a Super-Whip. A king—or any strong executive—is, in essence, one of Them (a politician) who fights Them for us, because they're the chief threat to his power if for no better reason.

  6. Finally, has anyone else noticed that Riddick, as in Chronicles of, is essentially the Monkey King?



So I got to thinking, and I realized, I really dig vampires. But they aren't usually done that well. You get one, or two, or both, of these gaping errors:
  1. The science vampire. Vampires are mutants, or people with a disease, or some crap...yet they usually still lack reflections, and have about half their physically impossible powers.

    One could probably write a doctoral thesis on how our society feels the need to scientify (?) everything, turning elves and goblins into paraterrestrials or aliens—and turning flat-out trolls into cryptid great apes (read some actual accounts of bigfoot sightings: do apes whistle, have glowing eyes, or turn into mist?). Why would you bother to have a usually-bullcrap scientific explanation for vampires? Do you think your subliterate handwaving will heighten the realism? Newsflash, turkeys: nothing is less realistic than your mutants with magic. Ghosts, vampires, fairies, the gods, are just out of our ordinary experience, something we don't know about, that follows different rules. Your stupid mutants are a gross violation of rules we know quite well.

  2. Inexplicably overpowered/de-weakened vampires. Often combined with the above, vampires are immune to their traditional weaknesses. Not usually sunlight, though—and they usually change it to "any UV", which is patently impossible for any creature that evolved on earth. Yet the vampires usually lose their weaknesses to crosses (or have it weakened to "only if the person with the cross has faith"—up yours, Kierke-tard), garlic, and running water.
Why do they do this?

The Science-Vampire is because they're half-educated, simpleminded slaves, the same as the reason for most of their failures. They've heard that science has disproved vampires, never mind that science is inherently incapable of saying anything about what are, in essence, ghosts on steroids.
Ignoramus: Walking through walls violates the laws of physics.
Sapiens: You're drinking beer. That violates the laws of Saudi Arabia.
Ignoramus: (confused) We're not in Saudia Arabia.
Sapiens: (insanely optimistic) Perhaps you begin to see the point.
As for the weaknesses, and neglect of same, they probably aren't smart enough to write around those difficulties, so they take them away with nothing to balance them.

That said, some of the rules as used by the classics, like Dracula, are actually more complex. See, the traditions of mankind were not invented by people raised on Sesame Street, they were created by people who could actually enjoy poetry in dactylic hexameters, without rhymes.
  • Sunlight.
    Yes, yes, in folklore the sun doesn't kill them, we know. It does hurt ghosts, trolls, dwarves, and goblins, though. Anyway, vampires seem to be weak in the heart, and sunlight hurting them, or turning off most of their powers, may have to do with the heart being the organ of the sun in several different traditions. That or they're just spoooooky and therefore creatures of night.

  • Running water.
    In folklore, it's the powers of vampires, witches, etc. that are stopped by running water, not the creatures themselves; since folkloric vampires are often projections of a witch's soul, or are tied to a grave, they obviously can't pursue a victim over running water.

  • Garlic.
    In alchemical terms, garlic would be of use against vampires because of its sulfur—sulfur is the alchemist's gold, and is associated with the sun. Gold itself might have a similar effect. Anything with mercury in it would similarly be effective against werewolves, since they're alive and mercury is the opposite of alchemists' gold. Also, silver itself works against werewolves because it's the metal of the moon (it also has a purifying effect, in alchemy—and swimming pools—that might simply undo a spell that grants werewolf powers, and might also do away with vampires).

  • Stake through the heart.
    Actually, in folklore, this won't do it: vampires, like Hopi and Aztec skinwalkers, often have two hearts. At best this'll immobilize them; you gotta do the head to get 'em, generally.

  • Crosses.
    Vampires don't, in folklore, turn the people they bite; more often, they're like Japanese onryô: the lingering resentment of people that died badly—suicide shows up a lot. Of course, being killed by a vampire ain't a good death, so there's that. But anyway, the Cross, as a symbol of existence-as-a-good-thing (i.e. God), might not be too pleasant to look at, to a wrathful ghost.


Not only are you cripplingly ignorant...

...but you whine about it, too.

(100 Puuchuu points if you know what that's from.)

I needed to do another post like my "Reality Check" earlier—I do not suffer fools gladly, and the rest of the human race seems to be doing its damnedest to teach me just how much pain there is in living.
  • So some conservative student group (YAF?) went around asking college kids if they'd like their good grades redistributed to students who weren't doing as well, in the manner of the welfare state. And of course, the students were none too pleased by the prospect. But they still insisted that it was okay to do the same with money. The comparison's not perfect (college is not a necessity of life), but it does rather nicely show up the inherent flaw of Socialism.

    But suppose I went around asking students if they'd like it if there were far fewer than enough textbooks for everyone, and the students had to scramble madly for them. And the students that didn't get the books had to borrow from those who did.

    And suppose those students who were borrowing, only got to keep a small minority of their gradepoints, the rest going to those who own the textbooks?

    That's capitalism, dude. Not looking much better, now is it?

  • Why do people badmouth the Middle Ages, compared to the two eras after it? What mostly got reborn in the Renaissance was torture (copying the Roman legal system—medieval torture was much less nasty), and the main thing that got lit in the Enlightenment, was witches (fun fact: of the forty thousand people killed in all witch-trials ever, the vast, vast, vast majority were after the Reformation).

    The Middle Ages had much stricter rules on warfare than the Renaissance, let alone the Reformation/Enlightenment—conquest, without the excuse of wrongdoing on the opponent's part, was completely unthinkable in the Medieval world. Don't believe me? Then why, child, is the Bayeux tapestry so preoccupied with establishing that Harold and William were friends, and that Harold swore to give William the crown when Edward died? If conquest was the rule, why was William so concerned to establish his legal justification?

    The medieval economic system (or rather, three concurrent systems) were designed to maximize wealth and growth for everyone in a given industry, since they didn't need competition as a barrier to entry. Also their art and architecture were original, and they made several improvements in technology over Rome (the pointed arch, the water-wheel, even the glider (look it up)).

    The Middle Ages were an era of progress, and the Renaissance was a throwback to the Ancient world. The Enlightenment, though, wasnt even a throwback; nobody'd ever been that stupid before.

  • Veganism. Just...Veganism. Two issues. One, doing it for ethical reasons? Really? Kingdomist. Have the testicular fortitude to only eat fruit, leaves, partial stocks, and seeds, like Buddhists (eating a whole plant is taking life). Ahimsa vegetarianism makes sense, and is as eminently respectable as someone taking the trouble to keep kosher; ethical Veganism is, pure and simple, stupid.

    As for nutrition...um, Kemosabe, humans are primates, and primates are omnivores. Most Vegans would be the first to argue for embracing our animal nature in matters of sexuality—well, why not diet? Your appendix is as small as it is because you're not evolved for digesting cellulose. Humans would never have gotten to where we are today if we were herbivores; meat's just the most efficient means of getting nutrients, because some other animal does most of the work.

  • So I been reading up on Proto-Indo-European, and apparently the Kurgan hypothesis holds the field regarding its Urheimat (original territory, in this case probably Ukraine). I got no beef with the theory itself, since it seems to be best-supported by the evidence, but the lady who come up with it, Marija Gimbutas, was just a waste of nutrients. Mercifully the other scientists have jettisoned most of her crap from the hypothesis, as she had...no evidence for it, but why did anyone listen in the first place?!

    See, Gimbutas' interpretation was that the Indo-Europeans replaced a peaceable, matriarchal, goddess-worshiping people. Her evidence? They had a lot of female figures in their art. This is stupid, let me count the ways:
    1. Lord knows the Playboy mansion's got a lot of female figures in the art; ain't exactly a monument to the matriarchy.
    2. We don't know that the figures were goddesses; could've been Barbies, they're certainly distorted to conform to an ideal. Real Matriarchy-approved, Barbies, right?
    3. Even if they were goddesses, goddess-worship is not necessarily matriarchal; the Gorkhas worship Kali, but they're not matriarchal in the slightest.
    4. The Gorkhas and their goddess-worship sorta put to rest the myth of peaceful "people of the goddess," don't they?
    5. Even if they were matriarchal (and they'd actually have to be completely unique to be matriarchal, since there are no known matriarchies in the world), that doesn't mean they were peaceful. Aside from the fact we've got their fortifications, weapons, and yes, traumatized corpses, so we know they weren't peaceful, Golda Meir wasn't a Mensch and Margaret Thatcher wasn't a bloke, now was she?

    Now, admittedly, we have found that those (probably) pre-Indo-European Europeans were buried together according to enate (matrilineal) kinship, but that just means they were matrilineal, perhaps matrilocal. The Apaches and Navajo are, too—tell me, are they peaceful matriarchies? (answer: Good God, no!)

Outlaw Star

As promised, I'm a-gettin' another review out—though it ain't a new show.

Remember Outlaw Star?

Now let's do this properly, bad stuff first.


Nope, nothing. No, wait, maybe they could've stood to have more Ctarl-Ctarl. And Suzuka is a little Sue-ish, but female characters in Sunrise series that aren't strictly comic relief, or Yamato Nadeshiko love-interests like Melfina or most Gundam heroines, are always insufferable. It's like an iron law of the universe. Same goes for Hilda, now that I think of it—and Faye, in Bebop.

As for the good...first, how about the pirates? I'm a sucker for any SF that incorporates magic, as such, without pretending it's something else. And those ones are Taoists—their chant, Bagua Sanfa, is not, as you may have heard, nonsense. The "Bagua", or rather "Bāguà" is definitely "Eight Trigrams;" "Sanfa", if it's "Sānfǎ", is probably the Three Seals in Buddhism, Impermanence, the No-Self, and Nirvana. It's less weird that they're mixing the two than it probably seems—Japanese Taoism, in the form of Onmyôdô, is heavily mixed with Shingon Buddhism. I don't think this is quite as much the case in Chinese Taoism (where the rivalry with Buddhism sometimes got ugly), but Japan could make "generalization from the self" their official national fallacy.

Similarly, the caster: a gun that shoots magic spells! Oh, hell yes!

And then there's the SF. Yes they fudge it here or there for the story, and of course there's the flat-out magic, but the show's still more serious, literary SF than 2001: A Space Odyssey, and yet it's not boring. How about the magnetic monopole in the prison episode? Right outta Niven, my friends. How about when the Outlaw Star passes between the two atmosphere-sharing gas giants, and they nearly get hit by a big wave of metallic hydrogen?

The characters! All of them really, except Suzuka, and even she's not bad, just Sue-ish. But Aisha? Seriously, find me anything American with a ditzy jock-girl. Yes, I'm a sucker for the catgirl, but most catgirls don't make you suspect their real job title is Speaker-to-Animals (except, you know, without Niven's raving misogyny). Melfina is up there with Armitage and R. Dorothy Wainwright as a robot, and Harry's a great character, too: he's basically a nice kid, but he was raised by a family of assassins, so his default reaction to disappointments is to kill something. Also, he manages to make giant pink bows look downright manly. Jim is one of the few good boy-genius characters (if that episode with the cats doesn't make you cry, you have no blood and no tears), and Gene is a sort of "Shonen hero who didn't have his adventure yet".

Finally, I'd like to point out how good a show this is...and then you consider it's mostly just an elaborate ad for model-kits!. Why are Japan's thirteen-hour toy ads deeper than the stuff we make to show how smart we are?